Kevin Ball glasses

Ball reflects on stalemate

Published:
by Ashley Houghton

U21 coach on Everton point, Mangane and players' attitudes.

Sunderland’s U21 coach Kevin Ball said he felt frustration for his players as Everton came from two goals down to claim a point at Eppleton CW on Monday evening.

Ball’s side, which included Kader Mangane, took the lead through a wonder strike from Mikael Mandron before Tyias Browning’s own goal doubled the hosts’ advantage.

However, Everton replied through Conor McAleny and an equally fantastic goal from Francisco Junior.

We’ve played very well in games before and not got anything so we need to do more defensively and more offensively to make sure we convert our chances

- Kevin Ball

Ball told safc.com that he felt for his players, having played so well for large parts of the game.

He said: “It’d sound such a cliché as a coach to say we were disappointed with the result, but I am going to say it, because we were.

“It’s frustrating for the players because I thought we did more than enough in the game.”

He added: “The first goal we conceded wasn’t fantastic as we had a counter attack and the next thing we know it’s in the back of our net. It’s not meant to work that way, it’s meant to be the other way round on a counter-attack and end up in the back of their net.

“I thought we were smashing, I honestly did, but I’ve said to the lads it’s another opportunity we’ve missed.

“We’ve played very well in games before and not got anything so we need to do more defensively and more offensively to make sure we convert our chances.”

Mangane was making his first appearance in a Sunderland shirt and Ball was impressed with how the Senegal international applied himself to the game.

“I spoke to the gaffer who obviously wanted him to play, and, obviously it’s a fantastic opportunity for our players to play with a player of his experience,” he explained.

“It was a good opportunity for him to get a game and I’d like to think he enjoyed the game, and, in terms of his attitude last night and how he went about his job, I thought he did very well."

And Ball indicated all the senior players who have dropped down to his squad have been first-class in their approach.

“I think the most important thing for any player who drops down to the reserves - I experienced this as a player myself - is that attitude has to be right because there still has to be a purpose to your play.

“We’ve not experienced it this year where any player has come down and not given their all.

“Their attitudes are always spot on and that’s pleasing for us as staff, but also the younger players, who aspire to be like them in time.”